May 29, 2014 11:32 am

Police try to stop graffiti with youth intervention program

CALGARY – Police are launching a new pilot program aimed at preventing graffiti vandalism, by channeling that creative energy into something more useful.

The ‘Up the Wall’ program will focus on youth aged 12 to 17 who have either been charged with graffiti-related offences, or are at a pre-charge phase.

Participants will be provided with an opportunity to explore the arts in alternative ways.

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“[We're] gathering them early on in their artistic career, teaching them appropriate means to work within the history and expression of art, and actually putting that on the streets in a way it can be enjoyed positively by the whole community,” explains public art program coordinator Dawn Ford.

The program will take place in a City of Calgary art facility, up to three times a year. Each session will include up to 12 participants, who will go to sessions for six hours a week for a 12 week period.

This pilot project is scheduled to run for up to two years, when it will be evaluated by officials.

The initiative is funded by The City of Calgary Animal & Bylaw Services Crime Prevention Investment Plan and Calgary police.

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